Waterjug with refreshing lemons and ice

 

When we finally have decided to start living healthy and to do something about our overweight, our loose skin or limp muscles, we most often start a diet and/or make a subscription to a fitness center. The first couple of weeks we are highly motivated to reach our goal. But really soon after that, the willpower to follow through drops rapidly. The daily chores, the work, people around you demand your attention, all this is nagging on your energy. The result is not showing fast enough – after having lost a couple of pounds, the weight is not moving downwards anymore. This frustrates us and all of a sudden, we have forgotten our good intentions.

 

How can we motivate ourselves to stay on course with our decision living a healthy life?

 

Step by step, to a healthier life

The best way is to take small steps at a time,
this helps you to not overstrain your willpower.

Change only one thing at a time. If we try to change too many things in our daily life at once, we won’t endure this for a long time. Body and mind need some time to adjust to new habits ¹.

 

Now I’d like to share my experience with you, then you’ll see what I mean.

My Story

 

The first step to a healthy living for me made a big impact on my weight. At that time, I was just fed up with my weight problem. I didn’t feel well, and my clothes didn’t fit anymore. Even if I did some training like jogging or fitness training now and then, I had gained weight again after having been on a diet. I knew I shouldn’t have gone back to the unhealthy habits. I knew I had to change something but what and how?

I began to reflect about my eating habits, about what and when I ate and drank, and asked myself: What can I omit, that does not “hurt” too much? In that very moment, I decided to stop drinking ice tea. Ice tea was what I could give up most easily of all my unhealthy habits. I used to drink 2,5 liters of sweet ice tea each day and I thought I could really try to drink plain waterA water jug and a glass, with refreshing lemons and ice with the meals instead of ice tea, as the food has got a taste in itself. I continued to drink ice tea in between the meals and didn’t change any other eating or exercising habits.

Within a couple of weeks, I had lost 3 pounds! I almost couldn’t believe the scale, but I felt that my clothes fit better and better so it must be true. This motivated me to omit sweet ice tea altogether – and I lost 3 pounds more in the following two weeks.

Since then, I drink water with the meals and hot tea, black or flavoured, in between the meals and I don’t even miss the daily dose of ice tea anymore. Sometimes in my holidays, I allow myself to drink a glass of ice tea or a lemonade in between, but together with a meal I still choose to drink a glass of water.

My Motto
Enjoy your life instead of torment yourself – but always have in mind that exaggerations in either way are not healthy.

 

Habit Changer Tip: Water

 

My advice 

 

1.      Analyse your habits. Reflect on your eating habits and other daily habits.

2.      Write down all the unhealthy habits you need/want to change.

3.      Choose one of the unhealthy habits which you want to omit/ change.

4.      Choose a healthy alternative and eat/drink/do that instead.

5.      Write down why you want to change your habits, and how you feel when you have achieved your goal. It is very important to visualize your feelings, that helps you to really reach your goal.

6.      Do follow this for at least three weeks and your new habit will start to become a routine.
Do not give up, if it hasn’t got manifested yet. Feel the change in your body and be happy about what you have achieved so far. After about two months the new habit most probably will have become an automated action.

7.      If you fall for a temptation – forgive yourself but do not quit your intention to follow through.
Just keep on going and always think of the reward – being and feeling fit and attractive.

 


 

¹ Malcolm Maltz, an American surgeon, was the first person to say that at least 21 days is necessary to form a new habit.  It was through his own observation within his profession, that he came to this conclusion. He published the thesis in 1960 in his book “Psycho-Cybernetics”.

Much later, in 2009 a research by Philippa Lally and her research team, discovered that it takes on average 66 days to manifest a new behavior. It can vary between 18 and 254 days, depending on the circumstances.

Philippa Lally is a health psychology researcher at University College London and her study was published in European Journal of Social Psychology, 16 July 2009.

 

Strawberries, healthy and delicious


             Enjoy your life, happy & healthy!


 

Please, leave a comment below. I’d love to know your experiences or tips.
If you have any questions concerning “how to start living healthy”, I’d be more than pleased to answer them.

 

16 Thoughts on “How To Start Living Healthy?”

  • I really enjoyed reading about the ways to change an unhealthy habit into a healthy one.

    I like the research documents you have referenced. I am going to read those as well.

    I like the idea of only picking one thing at a time to change. That makes the process less daunting,

    Are you still seeing good results with your own journey?

    • Hello Susan!

      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m very happy to hear that you enjoyed reading this blog. Changing habits step by step helps you to stay on course and not get overstrained with your aims of leading a healthy life, that’s what I have experienced myself. My own journey to a healthier life is going on for many years now. I feel much healthier now than for 10 years! I am still reading and learning about how the body and mind works. There are new interesting researches about how to stay young, live longer and how to heal different kinds of diseases. I’m looking forward to share this knowledge with you and everybody else visiting my website in the future.

      Wish you a happy & healthy life,

      Pernilla

  • Hi, Pernilla,

    I truly enjoyed your web page you are on the right road. Helping people change habits is essential for a healthy lifestyle. One of the biggest I found was giving people direction. One of the most important tips is staying away from all fast foods, and start all home cooked meals. I like your approach with starting one step at a time.

    Water being the main sourse of our natural eletical system this step is vital to starting a healthier life style. With just these two steps in place they will be on the road to a healthier self. And feeling good.

    Your approach is very real and not evasive and as people respond to your advise and ask your opinion you can interact with them more on a personal level, there for help others under stand better how there body is a god given gift that needs to be taken care.

    The most wounderest machine ever created that has the capacity to heal itself if we as conscientionusly aware of it, is the human body.

    I wish all the best in your endeavors.

    always a better way
    sending blessings your way
    Linda

    • Hello Linda!

      I’m very grateful for your comment. Happy to hear that you enjoyed the visit at my website. Yes, it is my aim to help people to live a healthier life and I love to share my experiences and what I have learned and have implemented in my everyday life. For me it was very helpful to change my way of living step by step.

      In future blogs I will elaborate on different topics such like the importance of water, why sugar should be avoided and how dangerous acidosis of the body in the long term is. Another interesting topic is indeed the capacity of the body to heal itself, like you mentioned. If we care for and nurture our body and mind, then the human body have the best possibilities to be regenerated and even healed by itself.

      I hope you will visit easystepsforhealthyliving.com soon again – I’m looking forward to further comments!

      Wish you a happy & healthy life!

      Pernilla

  • Hi Pernilla

    I enjoyed reading how you have moved away from ice tea, since I had a similar experience with coffee. I’m not a hot beverage person, but an iced coffee (also called a milk coffee) made with ice cold milk and coconut sugar is my soft spot. I have also found that I lost quite a bit of weight just by cutting out my milk coffee and even though I haven’t had one in the past 18 months (I should reward myself!), it is by sheer willpower. Yes, I know all the reasons why I’m doing it, but I still crave it none the less. Do you have cravings for ice tea Pernilla?
    Sharlee

    • Hello Sharlee,

      I’m so very much delighted to receive another comment from you. It’s so interesting to hear about how you are feeling about changing one of your habits. You must absolutely be proud of yourself.

      No, I do not have cravings for ice tea or any other sweetened drinks anymore. It went surprisingly well to get rid of that bad habit. I must admit though, that my weaknesses are chocolate and ice cream, for those, I do have cravings. I do allow myself to eat some sweets and ice cream on the weekends. Sugar does not have any nutritious benefits at all so it would be better to leave it be, or at least keep the consumption as low as possible. Changing one habit after the other makes it easier and does not drain your willpower as much as when you try to change too many things at the same time.

      May your willpower be with you,
      Pernilla

      • Hallo Pernilla
        I am absolutely thrilled to hear that you are a chocolate and ice cream lover too.
        I agree, one always have to allow some wiggle room to accommodate at least some chocolate and ice cream! LOL
        When I crave a milk coffee, I tell myself that if I can forgo just THIS one, I can have ice cream on the weekend. (Never mind that tomorrow I do the same, but the ice cream doesn’t increase. LOL)
        I love your sense of humor – yes, may my willpower remain – thank you Pernilla!
        Sharlee

        • Hello again Sharlee,

          We all have our weaknesses, it’s all about having control of them if we want to stay young and healthy in body and mind. Still, we are here to enjoy life, and not torment ourselves. Therefore let’s enjoy some ice cream and a bit of chocolate on the weekend! When I crave for sweets during the week, I eat a handful of different kind of nuts, drink a fruit tea or savor a couple of frozen raspberries (almost like ice cream).
          Thank You Sharlee.
          All the best,
          Pernilla

  • Nice article Pernilla and I like what you said when we finally decide we have to make that decision if we want to make a change “we have to decide”. When we make that decision it has to be a lifestyle change altogether and to keep going no matter what obstacles we come up against, that means sacrifice.

    • Hello Fred,

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. You have hit the point exactly – it is crucial to success, that we make a decision. Any change in life is more or less hard to do, as our brain loves routine. It wants to save energy as much as it can, and it craves for fast energy if it has once learned about sugar and fast carbohydrates.

      We may not look at it as a sacrifice, it makes the habit change harder. We have to trick the brain, to do what we want before it takes over the control. I think it is easier to concentrate on one or at most two changes at a time within three to four weeks. Replace one bad habit with something healthy, step by step, like for example start drinking water instead of sweetened drinks – have a look at my Habit Changer Tip Water.

      Thanks for stopping by. Look forward to hearing from you again.

      Be kind to yourself – live happy and healthy!
      Pernilla

  • I loved reading your personal story. I am trying to build healthier habits and this is very encouraging. I will share my story a little to show how you are so encouraging.
    Several years ago now I was diagnosed with Lupus. I was put on some pretty hefty steroid medications. It drastically changed my weight and ability to maintain my weight. This has been challenging me a lot. It impacts you not only physically but emotionally as well. Depression set in and grabbed some nasty habits that made things even worse. One day I woke up inside and said enough is enough. I am doing myself more harm than my own illness.
    I gave up all processed foods, carbonated sugary beverages as well, and made a lot of other optional and forced lifestyle changes. I am working on trying to find alternative health treatments that will help me to eliminate or reduce steroids until then I am afraid I will battle the bulge. So the scale does not get to move much, YET. That is OK. I do not have to succumb to bad habits though. I feel better inside.
    This post helps to reinforce good habits and lifestyle changes do not all have to be about the weight but about health too. For me, that is the driving force. A healthier me.
    Thank you always for the motivation.

    • Christina, I’m very grateful for you sharing your story. Lupus is a rather unknown disease in the society and also for me. I know it is an autoimmune disorder, and which unfortunately has got no cure, yet. I’m very sorry to hear that you suffer from this disease, which causes painful inflammations in various parts of the body and numerous other symptoms.
      The steroid medication can make your cravings for food increase and therefore many Lupus-patients suffer from weight gain. You are doing exactly right on giving up processed food and sweetened drinks. The scientifical research says that processed food and sugar increases the inflammation in the body as well as promotes weight gain.
      In your case, I would recommend a low-carb diet and try to do without carbohydrates as much as possible. Please, check with your physician first before doing any drastic changes.
      In my following blog which will soon be published, I’ll talk about the Keto Diet, a low-carb diet that has shown very good results in curing diseases and relieving pains. Perhaps this can help you too.

      All the best,
      Pernilla

      • Thank you, Pernilla,
        Yes, Lupus is rather unknown. It is also very variable amongst even those who it afflicts. It can lead to many other secondary illnesses and symptoms that like to ride alongside it. I have had a difficult time coming to terms with my diagnosis. It drastically changed my life. I went from a very healthy almost never ill individual to a person who suffered daily and magnified into sub symptoms over a few years that devasted my livelihood.
        I am always looking for ways to re-find some balance in my physical life and get some health back. I look forward to reading the next article. Thank you!

        • Christina, it must have been very hard for you to go from a totally healthy person to get the diagnosis of the painful disease Lupus.
          Scientists are constantly doing research and I’m confident they will find a cure or at least something that relieves the symptoms and the pains, let’s hope sooner than later. There are many famous people who also suffer from Lupus, like for example Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez. They and many other surely make the scientists want to hustle things on, even more.

          All the best,
          Pernilla

  • Hi, Pernilla,

    Your post is one more inspiration for me to change my habits, and start living a healthy life! I cannot agree more with you about sweet drinks. I have excluded them from my diet, just the way you did! Water (and beer, when I see with friends) is what I drink, and I don’t feel the need of buying soft drinks, ice tea, juices, etc.
    If sometimes I want some sweet stuff, I can always use homemade fruit juices (like lemonade, made of fresh lemon juice, water, and honey).

    By the way, how much water do you drink daily?

    • Hello Tony,

      That’s wonderful that you have excluded sweet drinks from your diet. When really thirsty, water is the most delicious drink of all. When we eat food, we can better taste the flavour of the foods drinking water instead of sweetened drinks. Homemade fresh squeezed fruit juices are healthier as they contain a lot of vitamins and a bit fibers.

      The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (USA) determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is 3,7 liters of fluids for men and 2.7 liters of fluids for women. This amount also covers the fluids coming from food, like fruit and vegetables. Children should have a daily fluid intake around 1,5 – 2 liters depending on their age.

      Personally, I drink 2 – 3 liters fluids (water and tea) per day, depends on how warm it is. Four to five times a week I do exercises (jogging, home trainer or aerobics) and then I do drink more water.

      Enjoy the refreshment of water,
      Pernilla

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